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How to Build a Dog Grooming Business Plan

Thinking of starting a pet grooming business? You're definitely barking up the right tree, but getting started can be a real paw-stopper. Lucky for you, we've dug up all the essential elements of a pet grooming business plan and put them together in this blog post. Sit, stay, and read on!

Types of Business Plans

There are two types of business plans:

  1. a business plan that includes market research and in-depth analysis that you can use to secure a loan to fund your pet grooming business, and;
  2. a practical business plan that functions as a checklist to help you, the new owner, take the right steps toward opening your first business.

In this blog, we’re focusing on the second type of business plan to give you the practical tools and information you need to build a successful grooming business.

What to Include in Your Pet Grooming Business Plan

Your dog grooming business plan should include the following elements. Don't worry, we’ll get to all of them below!

👋 New to grooming? Kickstart your business and apply for the MoeGo Care Program

Choosing the Right Business Model

There are three types of dog grooming businesses: at-home, mobile, and brick-and mortar.

  • At-home dog grooming services generally take place in the groomer's residence, providing a personal touch and comfortable environment for pets.
  • Mobile dog grooming services, on the other hand, bring the grooming services to the client's doorstep. This convenience saves time and energy, eliminating the need for pet owners to transport their furry friends to a grooming salon.
  • Brick-and-mortar dog grooming shops, also known as grooming salons, are traditional storefronts that provide a range of pet grooming services. These businesses often have a team of experienced groomers and advanced grooming equipment to cater to various pet grooming needs.

Each type of dog grooming business provides unique advantages that cater to different pet owners' preferences and schedules. At the end of the day, the "best" business model boils down to your preference, needs, and lifestyle as the owner.

🐶 Unleash the power of MoeGo and watch your grooming business grow! 

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Business Model Pros & Cons

At-home business

  • Pros: Eliminates commute time and overhead costs. 
  • Cons: May be challenging to maintain work-life balance and attract customers without a physical storefront. 

Brick-and-mortar store

  • Pros: Physical presence can attract passing customers and offer extra services. 
  • Cons: Traditional business costs involved such as commercial rent and utilities. 

Mobile grooming

  • Pros: Convenient for customers and pets while being safer during the pandemic. 
  • Cons: Overhead costs for gas and vehicle maintenance, and local laws and parking regulations can get tedious. 

🐶 Check out our in-depth look at each grooming business model: Salon vs. Mobile vs. At-Home

Grooming Supplies & Equipment 

The exact supplies you need will depend on your business model. That said, here's a checklist of some essential items you will need to include in your business plan:

  • Dog Grooming Clippers: Essential tools for groomers in order to maintain a consistent, efficient, and quick grooming process.
  • Clipper Blades: A range of removable clipper blades are necessary to address different coat types.
  • Clipper Oil: Helps maintain clipper blade function.
  • Coat Stripping Tool (like the Coat King): Necessary for longer-coated canines to remove undercoat.
  • Scissors: Groomers require a variety of straight, curved, and thinning scissors to style and shape hair.
  • Slicker Brushes: Use these brushes to brush out and untangle matted fur.
  • Combs: Necessary for detangling and grooming hair.
  • Sterilizer: A basic need for cleansing metallic grooming equipment.
  • Shampoo: Need a variety of shampoos that cater to different skin concerns and coat types.
  • Finishing Spray: Helps provide a long-lasting scent customers will love.
  • Professional Dryer: A reliable tool that dries dog's fur quickly.
  • Grooming Table: Can choose between hydraulic or non-hydraulic models to accommodate budget and needs.
  • Tub / Sink: Necessary for bathing dogs before grooming.
  • Bath Equipment: Mitts, sponges, combs, and towels are essential for bathing dogs.
  • Nail Clippers: Vital for preventing claw infections and clipping nails.
  • Leashes / Leads: Necessary for safely controlling each dog.
  • Grooming Shoes: To protect your feet from hair slivers and keep them dry.
  • Accessories: Bows, bandanas, etc. to keep your furry customers looking their best.
  • Cleaning supplies: To keep your grooming space tidy and grime-free.
  • Vacuum: To clean up excess hair after blow drying and clipping.

The cost of each item on this list can vary widely. If you're just starting out, look into mid-range or affordable options so that you can figure out what your preferences are for certain tools. As your business grows, look into upgrading to tools that include the features most important to you.

Your Customer Focus

Your customer focus will help you answer the two critical questions when it comes to your target market: "Who do you want to buy your grooming services?" and "Who is your ideal customer?" By identifying your target audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts to attract them effectively.

This might include understanding their dog's breed, size, and personality to offer grooming services that meet their unique needs. It could also include targeting specific neighborhoods to reach high-earning pet parents.

If you're just starting out, you may not know who your ideal customer is yet - and that's okay! This can change over time as you build your customer base and launch various marketing efforts.

Tips to Build Your Customer Base

  • Leave your business card at local vets, coffee shops, doggy daycares, and community boards.
  • Offer referral discounts for existing customers
  • Encourage all customers to leave reviews on Google, etc.
  • Use social media to promote your business (Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook groups, etc.)
  • Ask customers if they'd like to rebook before they leave, or offer a small discount for rebooking before they leave.
  • Partner with local animal shelters to give free nail trims or discounts to newly adopted dogs.
  • Give discounts to veterans and emergency responders

Also, remember that retaining clients is just as important as getting them through the door the first time. Create a pawsome customer experience by handing out new customer welcome bags, for example.

You could also consider offering loyalty programs that provide customers  with special discounts or perks if they return for repeat business. Providing a personalized experience can help build stronger relationships and positive word-of-mouth referrals for your business within your pet-loving community.

Marketing & Advertising 

As a dog groomer, marketing and advertising can help you attract new clients and is an important part of your business plan. Social media, online advertisements, and your business website are all ways to help your business stand out from the competition. Here, we'd like to focus on two of the most important ones: your website and Google. 

Your Website

Your business website is like a digital business card. You can use it to feature your services and pricing, offer discounts, and as a landing page for paid ads (if you want to invest in them). A few common website builder platforms include Wix, Squarespace, and Wordpress.

Pet grooming website best practices:

  • Clearly define your services and the city where you provide them
  • Include before and after pictures of dogs you have groomed 
  • Showcase customer testimonials
  • Have a contact page with your business address (if applicable), phone number and email address
  • Feature an “About Us” page so visitors can learn more about you
  • Feature offers or discounts, if you offer them (such as a veteran's or first-time customer discounts) 
  • Make sure the website is easy to read on mobile devices, because most people search from their phones (Many website builders can do this for you)

The cheapest way to build a website as a dog groomer is to do it yourself. However, this can take a lot of time - something most new business owners don't have a lot of. That said, hiring someone to build it for you can be expensive, not to mention maintenance or changes to the website you may want to make. 

If you want to avoid the cost of a website altogether, consider using a grooming software like MoeGo that includes a website landing page in its online booking portal. This can help you show up when people search for your business on Google.

🐶 No website? No problem! Book a demo to see how MoeGo's online booking portal can help - plus a bunch of other cool features, too! 

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Your Google Listing

Google listings (Google Business Profiles) are a great way to help customers find your business online. Plus, they're free! A Google listing will allow customers to find you through Google searches and Google Maps, so it’s an important (but often overlooked) part of your new business plan.

Here are some steps for setting up your Google listing:

  • Visit the Google Business website and sign in with your Google account
  • Enter your business name and address (you may need to verify ownership of the location)
  • Add a profile photo, logo, and other relevant information about your business
  • Include additional images of your grooming services or dogs you’ve groomed
  • Set up your hours and contact information
  • Monitor your reviews and respond to them appropriately
  • Include a link to your website (if you have one)
  • Add any additional categories or services you offer 

Having a Google listing also allows customers to leave reviews and feedback, which can help establish your credibility in the pet grooming industry.

Google Ads

Google Ads can be used to target potential customers who are looking for pet grooming services in their area, as well as those searching for specific services such as dog washing, nail trimming, and styling. Here are some tips for setting up Google Ads and maximizing your budget:

  • Research keywords related to your services to ensure you reach the right audience
  • Create targeted campaigns for each service you offer
  • Set a daily budget so that you don’t overspend
  • Monitor and adjust bids for keywords regularly to get the most out of your budget
  • Check reports regularly to make sure you’re getting the most out of your campaigns
  • Try different ad types such as display or video ads to target a wider audience
  • Link ads back to relevant pages on your website for better conversion rates

Funding

To fund a pet grooming business, you can use personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, or angel investors. Most pet grooming businesses rely on personal savings and bank loans for funding. But, to get a bank loan, you must submit a convincing business plan that ensures loan repayment with interest. The loan officer will assess your business plan and financial projections to see if your business can thrive.

Branding

Just like any business, pet groomers need to have a strong brand to stand out from competitors - especially at the beginning. Here are a few things you'll want to have in place as part of your business plan to create a strong and memorable brand:

  • Your mission and values
  • Appealing brand colors and logo
  • A memorable business name
  • Services and products offered

Pricing Strategy

Setting the right prices for your dog grooming business is crucial for success, so include it in your business planning. Not only does it play a role in gaining and retaining customers, but it also affects your profitability. 

Creating a pricing menu that outlines each service's cost and how those prices vary based on the dog's weight is usually the best approach. Weight-based pricing is more effective because it eliminates confusion between owners about what size category their pet falls under.

It’s important not to undervalue your services to attract new business. Charging what's fair for your valuable grooming services is best for long-term success, opposed to setting the precedent that your services are worth less than competitors.

Here are a few tips for creating a pricing strategy that works:

  • Different dog breeds and sizes make pricing grooming services complicated.
  • Pricing should be weight-based instead of by standard size categories.
  • Beware of undervaluing services while accounting for competition.
  • Charging what's fair for valuable grooming services extends the understanding of their true worth to customers.

If you like this post, check out our tips for starting a dog grooming business! 😍

How Profitable Can a Dog Grooming Business Be?

While dog grooming has the potential to be a very profitable venture, there are multiple factors that may impact your success. These factors include:

  • Customer base: The speed at which you can grow your customer base will impact your profitability, as a larger customer base may lead to more revenue.
  • Pricing strategy: What you charge for your services can affect how much revenue you generate. Pricing too high may drive potential customers away, while pricing too low may lead to lower profits.
  • Startup and operational costs: The costs associated with starting and running your dog grooming business may impact your profitability. Larger costs may require more revenue to offset them.
  • Competition: The level of competition in your local market will impact your profitability, as more competition may lead to fewer customers.
  • Cost of rent: Depending on your location, the cost of rent may be a significant expense that affects your bottom line.
  • Employee wages: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees to keep up with demand, which will impact your profitability.

The Growing Pet Industry

Despite these potential challenges, the pet industry is experiencing remarkable growth. In 2020, an estimated $99 billion was spent on pets. In 2022, 2 out of 3 U.S. households had a pet and  $124 billion was spent on them - roughly the net worth of Bill Gates. In other words, the pet industry is growing and so is the need for pet care professionals, including groomers. 

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